The flight from Heathrow to Dulles took more than nine hours, which was long enough to watch parts of seven different movies three times. Since one of those movies was No Country for Old Men, none of the other movies stood a chance. By the time we arrived, I had become a student of the movie. I just hope it isn’t in my dreams tonight.
The central figure, Anton Chigurh, played by Javier Bardem, is a psycopathic killer who personifies death and chance in unequal measure. It’s a landmark performance. Every performance in the film is strong, but none of the characters stand out like Chigurh’s.
His motives? His quarry is money, but that’s just a point on a path. There is no doubt that he will get the money, and that people will die along the way. But death itself has no motive. It is merely inevitable. Like Anton Chigurh. The Terminator, the Alien, the guy DiNiro played in Cape Fear… all the relentless bad guys we’ve known… don’t compare easily with Chigurh. Because all the others could be, and were, defeated.
Death can’t be defeated. In Chigurh, it could only be wounded, because he is death in human form. But he is still death.
Which is on my mind more as I get older. The old men in the movie — Tommy Lee Jones and cohorts of his generation — are barely older than me, if they’re older at all.
Being older, if not yet “old”, requires increased acquaintance with the certainty that Your Time Will Come.
I plan to procrastinate. For some things that’s a helpful skill.
Meanwhile, a highly recommended movie.
Comments are now closed.